Anthony Joshua could be made to face WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk… or be forced to vacate title

ANTHONY JOSHUA could be forced to VACATE his WBO world heavyweight title if he doesn't agree to a fight Oleksandr Usyk.

The 30-year-old Brit is set to defend that belt, and the WBA and IBF versions, next against Kubrat Pulev on December 12.

Fight fans are then praying that if he gets through that, it will set up a Battle of Britain against WBC champ Tyson Fury.

He of course has the trilogy scrap against Deontay Wilder to sort out – but that could yet happen before the year is out.

But there could be a spanner in the works in the form of former undisputed cruiserweight king Usyk.

The Ukrainian became Joshua's WBO mandatory challenger as soon as he decided to move up to heavyweight.

The 33-year-old is set to take on Derek Chisora in what will be only his second bout in the heavyweight division.

And then he plans to take his WBO world title fight against Joshua.

Usyk’s co-promoter Alexander Krassyuk told Sky Sports: “Usyk has been the WBO mandatory challenger for more than one year.

“He has agreed to let AJ versus Pulev happen, with regards that the winner fights him next. This statement is still solid.

"Our plan is A) beat Derek Chisora B) push AJ to comply with WBO rules or vacate the title C) defeat AJ , or any other WBO champion or contender and become the heavyweight champion. Simple and practical."

When asked who would Usyk prefer to face out of the top ranked heavyweights in the division, Krassyuk added: “AJ or Fury? The one who has the belt and is ready to face the undisputed cruiserweight champion.

"We keep Joshua in mind. But anything may happen."

Joshua has previously described Usyk as “a very credible opponent".

When I'm trying to build my record, I want opponents like Usyk to say that I've defeated them

He told Sky Sports: “When I'm trying to build my record, I want opponents like Usyk to say that I've defeated them.

"He uses his feet very well, and positions his hands well. You can't hit him because his feet move so well.

"If you do manage to catch him, [the punches] are brushing off the gloves.

"What I'd do, as I have done already, is study him – from his footwork, his hand positioning, to his openings.

"Then I'd go to former people who have faced him and find out information on how to defeat him."

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